But first, when we got back to UB, I needed to go by the Nomadic Journeys office and pay for the trip. Jan Wigsten, who I worked with to plan my itinerary, was in and he spent about a half hour with Hatnaa and I chatting and kind of de-briefing us about how the trip had gone. It was pretty windy when we went back to the car and by the time we were halfway down Peace Ave. on the way to the hotel, it had started to rain. By the time we pulled into the Narantuul’s parking lot it was……hailing. Hard. The water level in the parking lot was already rising, so, once again, Hatnaa positioned the car so that the back end faced the storm and we sat for about 20 minutes right by the entrance ramp to the hotel door, waiting for it to stop or at least just go back to rain.
We finally got me and my stuff inside and I got my long hot shower. I called one of the Mongolian scientists that I’m working with, Amgaa, and he was free for dinner. He came over to the hotel and we walked a short way down the street to a restaurant that serves Mongolian food. At that point, neither of us knew whether or not Gana Wingard was going to make it in.
But she called the next morning and said the flight from Seoul went with no problems. The storm had cleared out. She came over to the hotel with her nephew, who is in his third year of studying biology at the University. We all went to lunch and then braved the notorious Black Market, now called the Narantuul Market. Nothing illegal goes on there except pick-pocketing. The drill is to take nothing in with you except your money, which you hold in your hand. The market was busy, but not crowded and we had no problem at all. The best way to see it is to go in with no money and just walk around. Needless to say, I don’t have any photos.
It’s a huge covered area with stalls selling everything. Our mission was to buy three or four meters of felt for the herder women to experiment with since we think that they can do well making traditional Mongolian felt carpets to sell. I also bought all the fabric needed for them to make del for myself and my husband.
The driver picks me up at 9am this morning. We then pick up Gana and head south to Ikh Nart. I will be back in UB sometime in the afternoon of the 28th. Gana has been told that it is very, very hot at the reserve. We will do our argali watching in the early morning and in the evening and have our meetings with the herder women during the day. Fortunately, I have found that the same felt covering that keeps a ger warm in cold weather, also keeps them reasonably cool when it’s hot. And the nights can be quite cool. I might even need my down sleeping bag.
I hope to post again at least once before I come home on the 30th.